No Tigers starter in the team's 112-year history has started a season 10-0. Right-hander Max Scherzer will have an opportunity to change that when he takes the mound against right-hander Jake Arrieta and the Orioles in the series opener Monday night at Comerica Park.
Entering a 10-game homestand, Scherzer has a chance to write his name in the Tigers' history books. However, win-loss records aren't a stat he cares too much about.
"When you look at win-loss records, I'm on a great offensive team. It's just a flukey stat," Scherzer said after his last start. "For me, it's great to be 9-0, because we're winning. But more importantly, I'm pitching better."
Scherzer should be happy with his other numbers. In his last five starts, he has a 2.00 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 36 innings. He struck out 10 in eight innings while retiring the last 16 hitters he faced on May 31 against the Orioles, taking a no-decision when Baltimore scored four runs in the ninth in a comeback 7-5 victory.
Meanwhile, Arrieta will be filling in for Jason Hammel, who is having his start pushed back due to a virus he's been fighting throughout the weekend. Arrieta had a 6.63 ERA through four starts with the Orioles in April, before being demoted to Triple-A Norfolk. In his last two starts in the Minors, he's allowed 15 runs in 10 1/3 innings. He was called up Saturday as an extra bullpen arm before Hammel's start was pushed back.
"I gave up a few more hits than I'd like but I threw a lot of strikes," Arrieta said about his last start in the Minors. "The walks were down. If I pound the zone with my stuff, I give myself a pretty good chance to have success."
Arrieta has pitched better against the Tigers than any other team he's faced more than once. In two starts, he's allowed two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings.
Orioles: Top prospects recovering from injuries
• Two of the club's top prospects are beginning to make their way back into games. Right-hander Dylan Bundy and infielder Jonathan Schoop both have progressed in their recoveries.
Bundy, sidelined with an elbow injury, will throw two sessions of 25 throws from 90 feet away on flat ground Monday. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection about six weeks ago. Schoop, who has a lower back stress fracture, has been jogging in a pool and throwing.
• Right fielder Nick Markakis has impressed manager Buck Showalter with his glove after making several tough catches in the past week.
"We're lucky to have him," Showalter said. "That's a tough right field to play [at Camden Yards]. He's very familiar with American League East places, he does it on the road, too. That's why it's hard not to run him out there. He impacts the game."
Markakis won a Gold Glove in 2011, and is helping the Orioles to a Major League-best .991 fielding percentage.
• Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is getting close to starting a rehab assignment after battling a strained oblique on the 15-day disabled list since May 12.
He threw 35 pitches from a full mound Saturday in Sarasota, Fla., and woke up Sunday feeling fine. He will travel with the Orioles to Detroit and Toronto this week, but could leave early when Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair decide he's ready to pitch for a Minor League affiliate.
Tigers: Leyland concerned about Sanchez
• Something just wasn't right about Anibal Sanchez's start against the Twins on Saturday. Manager Jim Leyland pulled him after 3 2/3 innings and 72 pitches, after he missed his previous start with muscle stiffness in his upper back. Sanchez says he feels fine physically, but Leyland is still feeling uneasy.
"I'm concerned about it," Leyland said. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to smell something. It just didn't look right coming out [of his hand]."
• Although Alex Avila was in the midst of a slump, Leyland kept plugging him in the lineup. It paid off Sunday, when he went 2-for-3, but he's still batting .172 on the year.
"You just try to keep encouraging the player and try to give him time off and try to pick your spots to get him in there," Leyland said before Sunday's game. "It's a tough call, because sometimes you don't really know if you're better off getting him out of there for a couple days ... I think the main thing is to stay positive."
Avila left Sunday's game in the ninth after being hit by a pitch on his left forearm.
• O's third baseman Manny Machado has a career-long 14-game hitting streak. He has a Major League-leading 99 hits and 32 doubles in 70 games.
• Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones has dominated Scherzer throughout his career. In 15 career at-bats, he has a .533 batting average and .867 slugging percentage. Earlier this season, Jones went 2-for-3 with a home run off the Detroit righty.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.